Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(2)

Fresh meat equaled the newly transferred Officer Shelby. “How’d she handle it?”

“Like a cop. She’s all right, LT.”

“Good to know.”

She really wanted coffee—and not crap break-room coffee, but the real coffee in her office AutoChef. But she’d brought Officer Shelby on board, and on her first full day she’d taken a fist in the eye.

So Eve, tall and lanky in her black leather coat, walked to the break room.

Inside, Shelby sat drinking crap coffee, squinting at her PPC while wearing a cold patch over her right eye. She started to get to her feet, but Eve gestured her down.

“How’s the eye, Officer?”

“My kid sister hits harder, Lieutenant.”

At Eve’s finger motion, Shelby lifted the patch.

The bloodshot white, the black and purple raying out from it had Eve nodding. “That’s a nice one. Stick with the patch awhile.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good work.”

“Thank you, sir.”

On the way to her office, she stopped by Uniform Carmichael’s cube. “Run it through for me.”

“Detectives Carmichael and Santiago caught one down on Avenue B. We’re support, just crowd control. We spot the illegals deal going down, five feet away. Can’t just ignore it, but since we’ve got a body coming out, we’re just going to move them along. Dealer? He’s hands up, no problem. Chemi-head’s jonesing some, and he just punched her. Sucker punch, sir. She took him down, and fast, I’ll give her that. A little bit on the reckless side, maybe, but it’s her eye his fist punched. We hauled them both in, with assaulting an officer added to the doper.

“She can take a punch,” Uniform Carmichael added. “I’ll give her that, too.”

“Keep her tight for a few days, and let’s see how she rolls.”

Before somebody else wanted her for anything else, Eve cut straight through to her office. She programmed coffee, black, without bothering to take off her coat.

She stood by her skinny window drinking the coffee, her whiskey-colored cop’s eyes scanning the street traffic below, the sky traffic above.

She had paperwork—there was always paperwork—and she’d get to it. But she had just closed an ugly case, and had spent the morning testifying over another ugly case. She supposed they were all ugly, but some twisted harder than others.

So she wanted a minute with her coffee and the city she’d sworn to protect and serve.

Maybe, if she was lucky, a quiet night would follow. Just her and Roarke, she thought. Some wine, some dinner, maybe a vid, some sex. When a murder cop ended up with a busy, billionaire businessman, quiet nights at home were like the biggest, shiniest prize in the box.

Thank God he wanted those quiet nights, too.

Maybe sometimes they did the fancy bits—it was part of the deal, part of the Marriage Rules in her book. And more than sometimes he worked with her over pizza in her home office. The reformed criminal with the mind of a cop? A hell of a tool.

So maybe a quiet night for both of them.

She set the coffee on her desk, took off her coat and tossed it over her deliberately uncomfortable visitor’s chair. Paperwork, she reminded herself, and started to rake her hand through her hair. Hit the snowflake hat she tried not to let embarrass her. After tossing that on top of the coat, she finger-combed her short, choppy cap of brown hair, sat.

“Computer,” she began, and her desk ’link sounded.


“Dispatch, Dallas, Lieutenant Eve.”

Even before the rest, she knew the shiny prize would have to stay in the box for a while.

With her partner, Eve walked from Sixth Avenue where she’d double-parked her DLE.

With a scarf of purple-and-green zigzags wrapped around her neck, Peabody clomped along the path, shooting unhappy looks at the snow blanketing everything else.

“I figured, hey, we’ll be in court, and we got temps in the forties, I can wear my cowgirl boots no problem. If we’ve got to go tramping through the snow—”

“It’s January. And what cop wears pink to a murder trial?”

“Reo had on red shoes,” Peabody pointed out, referring to the APA. “Red’s just dark pink when you think about it.”

When Eve thought about it, she wondered why the hell they were talking about footwear when they had three DBs on tap. “Suck it up.”

She flashed her badge when they came to the first police line, kept walking—ignored reporters who pushed against that line and shouted questions.

Somebody had their head on right, she decided, holding the media hounds back out of sight of the rink. That wouldn’t last, but it kept what was bound to be complicated a little simpler for the time being.

She spotted more than a dozen uniforms coming or going and at least fifty civilians. Raised voices, a few edged with hysteria, carried clearly.

“I thought we’d have more civilians, more witnesses.”

Eve kept scanning. “Bodies drop, people run. We probably lost half of them before the first-on-scene got here.” She shook her head. “Media doesn’t need to get within camera range. They’re going to have dozens of people sending them vids.”

Since nothing could be done about that, Eve set it aside, flashed through the next barricade.

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